For millennia people in Morocco still use argan oil as a treatment against skin diseases as well as cosmetic oil for skin and hair. Argan oil is advocated as moisturizing oil, against acne vulgaris and flaking of the skin, as well as for 'nourishing' the hair.
According to traditional Moroccan medicine, Argan oil has also medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns. It is used for hair as brilliantine, to fortify and in the treatment of wrinkled or scaly dry skin.
Argan oil has become increasingly popular for cosmetic use. The number of personal care products in the US market with ingredient like Argan oil has increased considerably in recent years. It is sometimes mixed with other oils. Argan oil is also sold without additives as a natural skincare and hair care product.
The increasing popularity of Argan oil has prompted the Moroccan government to plan for increased production, with their aim being to increase annual production from around 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Known as argan Argania is a genus of flowering plants containing the sole species , a tree endemic to the calcareous semidesert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco. The scientific name argania is derived from argan, the name of the tree in Shilha, the Berber language which is spoken by the majority of the people living in the areas where the tree is endemic.
Argan lives up to 200 years and grows to 8–10 m high. They are thorny, with gnarled trunks. The leaves are small, 2–4 cm long, and oval with a rounded apex. The flowers are small, with five pale yellow-green petals; flowering is in April. The fruit is 2–4 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling but unpleasantly flavoured layer of pulpy pericarp. This surrounds the very hard nut, which contains one (occasionally two or three) small, oil-rich seeds. The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in June to July of the following year.
In Morocco, arganeraie forests are designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. and now cover some 8,280 km² and. Their area has shrunk by about half during the last 100 years, owing to charcoal-making, grazing, and increasingly intensive cultivation. The best hope for the conservation of the trees may lie in the recent development of a thriving export market for argan oil as a high-value product. However, the wealth brought by argan oil export has also created threats to argan trees in the form of increased goat population. Locals use the newfound wealth to buy more goats and the goats stunt the growth of the argan trees by climbing up and eating their leaves and fruit.
Morocco ( French: Maroc), officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It has Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court. Morocco's predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Tamazight. Moroccan dialect, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco is an influential member of the Arab League and a part of the Union for the Mediterranean. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa.